Carly Simon Allan Jones - Essay

Allan Jones

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

["The Best of Carly Simon"] is really quite unremarkable in that it reveals her to be, despite (or even because of) her undeniable popularity, a relatively minor talent. And, although we are presented here with a selection of work which covers the last five years of her career, there is an absence of any thematic or musical development. Despite the early promise of "Carly Simon,"… represented by "That's The Way I've Always Heard It Should Be," and "Anticipation"—the title track and "Legend In Your Own Time" are featured here—she has not matured like her contemporary, Joni Mitchell. She lacks, too, the vivid perception which characterises the work of the sadly-neglected Laura Nyro. One has, however, to acknowledge Simon's facility for composing (most often in collaboration with Jacob Brackman) songs of a certain intelligence and discrimination. Her better songs, for instance, are thank fully free of any contrived emotional pyrotechnics (although "No Secrets" is a little mawkish). It's her consistency which is most admirable, though this has to be balanced against the fact that she has—with the exception of "You're So Vain," perhaps—written little that is either particularly memorable or demanding…. If her career is to be saved from the decline indicated by her most recent album, "Playing Possum," a drastic re-think is necessary.

Allan Jones, in his review of "The Best of Carly Simon," in Melody Maker (© IPC Business Press Ltd.), December 20, 1975, p. 31.